Inter-religious marriage


I have this tricky set of questions which was brought up in a forum that I regularly they are

  1. Does the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Islamic marriages?
  2. If a married muslim woman (2nd wife) converts to catholicism and wants to mary a catholic man under catholic rites, is it allowed?
  3. If a muslim man with 4 wives decided to convert to catholicism, is he still bounded to his 4 wives under catholic laws?

I hope that you could give me clear answers on the above.....thank you very much,




Hello FPerito,

  1. Yes, presuming the couple followed divine law (as the Catholic Church understands it, not Muslims) in marrying as well as obeyed the applicable civil law. (Too many possible references)

  2. Yes, if the woman can prove that her “husband” was already married and was thus not free to “marry” her. (See c. Can. 1085 §1. “A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.”)

  3. No. He must dismiss “wives” 2, 3, & 4, unless it would be a hardship to do this. In that case, he can pick one and dismiss the rest. Then, he is to marry the chosen “wife” according to canonical form. (See c. 1148, here:

Thanks for your time.

  1. Sounds a bit odd “pick one and dismiss the rest”???

What if #1 was 45 with 8 kids but a very rich family that would take her back

#2 was childless and has no family…no “male” to care for her. She cant drive, vote, go out in public alone and has a 4th grade education

#3 had 4 children wanted to convert but once her husband left could not because her oldest son forbade it

#4 is 22 has born him a child and has a strong faith but will be impoverished/beaten for failing to keep her husband


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